In a February 2014 article, the New York Times claimed that bystander intervention “may well be the best hope for reducing sexual assaults on campuses. Mostly it’s common sense.” Maybe more so for women than men.
A 2011 study by Sarah McMahon, Judy Postmus, and Ruth Anne Koenick reveals that compared to college age males, college age females have more positive bystander attitudes and behaviors. Sarah McMahon and Alexandria Dick’s research (2011) reveals how men are less likely to intervene because of the social norms of hegemonic masculinity, characterized by “heterosexuality, strength, and sexual prowess.”
Some boys and men will get bystander intervention when it’s taught without any attention to masculinity. But more boys and men will become engaged and better active bystanders when we help them unpack how social norms of hegemonic masculinity can get in the way, and how healthier forms of masculinity can help them better participate in prevention.
to learn how our Where Do You Stand? campaign and training can improve your efforts to engage boys and men in bystander intervention.